PUEBLO, Colo. – Many restaurants around Colorado are having a hard time hiring staff during the pandemic. But one Pueblo restaurant is getting innovative with its staff by using- robots.

East Coast Pizza owner Dominic Mannino has introduced a new robot named Bella, and she’s now the newest waiter serving up a slice.

“It’s a great help for the waitresses we have right now. Bella helps us because it’ll greet you, take you to your table and bring the food out to you. You can also put the dirty dishes back on, or she’ll take it back,” Mannino said.

Mannino said over the past year the restaurant has struggled to find people to work. But with Bella, it’s helped provide an extra hand.

“We’re about three staff members down right now. In all these years we’ve been in business since 1980, we never had any experience like this before COVID, so we decided to do something different,” Mannino said.

BellaBot, made by Pudu Robotics is equipped with 360-degree sensors, tray tables, and a smiling face. Bella is programmed to know the layout of the entire restaurant, just punch in the table number and off she goes.

“It keeps a distance too. It has all the sensors that keeps the distance from the customers and it gets sanitized quite a bit also every time we take it to a table,” Mannino said.

At the table, many people are still adjusting to their new server.

“The kids really love it because they love to play with it and it interacts with them. But there’s also some that are not into that, which is fine. We still have our personal touch of our service with our waiting staff,” Mannino said.

A shock to many at first but necessary to keep the restaurants open.

“We’re just happy to be able to have this technology and be able to do this and to share with the customers and the people in southern Colorado,” Mannino said.

Maninno said they are still hiring staff and if anyone wants to apply they sould come in with their application.

East Coast Pizza is located at 1638 W US Highway 50, Pueblo, CO 81008 or visit their website.